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ARM MERCHANT SHIPS?
Should merchant ships transiting high risk areas carry small arms for defense against pirates?

Selected crew should be trained and have guns available
Professional armed security teams should be hired
No guns on merchant ships, ever

May 15, 2009

Tidewater says Venezuela grab took 11 vessels

Tidewater Inc. (NYSE:TDW) yesterday revealed that 11 of its vessels plus a terminal have been taken over by PDVSA under a new Venezuelan law. That law reserves provision of hydrocarbon related goods and services to the state. As we reported earlier, PDVSA has taken control of 39 companies under the provisions of the law.

At a conference call with investors yesterday, it emerged that Tidewater has been offered $2.8 million for the nationalized assets. It maintains they are worth more and Chairman, President and CEO Dean E. Taylor said the company would pursue all legal options.

As of March 31, Tidewater was owed around $40 million by PDVSA.

Tidewater has operated in Venezuela for 50 years and still has a handful of vessels there that have not, as yet, been expropriated. Mr. Taylor said the company would stay in the market as long as it remained safe to do so.

The conference call was held to discuss the company's fourth quarter and annual results for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2009. It reported fourth quarter net earnings of $109.7 million, or $2.13 per share, on revenues of $341.6 million. For the same quarter last year, net earnings were $85.4 million, or $1.63 per share, on revenues of $331.4 million. For fiscal year ended March 31, 2009, net earnings were $406.9 million, or $7.89 per share, on revenues of $1,390.8 million. For the fiscal year ended March 31, 2008, net earnings were $348.8 million, or $6.39 per share, on revenues of $1,270.2 million.

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